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1892] The Hebrew New Testament, Etc. 145 


By Rev. Dr. Gustaf Dalman, of Leipzig. 
Translated by Prof. A. S. Carrier, Chicago. 

Since there were numerous errors in the translation of the 
New Testament, published by the "London Society for 
Promoting Christianity amongst the Jews," in 18 17, and 
afterwards often revised, Franz Delitzsch as early as 1838 
asked for a new translation, in " Wissenschaft, Kunst, Juden- 
thum." But it was not until the year 1864 that the work 
was actually put in operation, as appears from an appeal of 
Delitzsch in his Zeitschrift '• Saat und Hoffnung" for Christ- 
mas, 1864. By June, 1865, the translation of Matthew, 
James, Hebrews and Revelation was provisionally completed 
(S. u. H. Ill 7, 91). The first proof of Romans, with a 
Rabbinical commentary, appeared in the summer of 1870, 
together with an appendix containing a critique of that 
which had already been accomplished, and explanations of 
the principles which underlay the enterprise. At the same 
time (S. u. H. VIII. 75) Delitzsch announced that he wished 
thoroughly to revise Matthew. In May, 1874, he was able 
to announce (S. u. H. XL 129) that the translation of the 
entire New Testament was ready for the press. Certain 
Jewish friends of Delitzsch, who were indemnified for their 
trouble by the munificence of the ' ' Gesellschaft fur Juden 
Mission in Baiern und Norwegen," had given important 
assistance to this work by forwarding proposed translations. 
After several useless efforts by various publishers the ' ' Brit- 
ish and Foreign Bible Society," in the summer of 1875, 
undertook the publication, so that the composition could 
begin in Sept., 1875. (S. u. H. XIV 80 ff). 

In the spring of 1877 the work was completed (S. u. H. XIV 
242S.) ; but now began the more difficult work of revision and 
criticism. Men like Prof. Levey in Breslau, Prof. Kaufmann 
in Budapest, Prof. Kautzsch in Basel, and Dr. Biesenthal in 
Leipzig, made suggestions for correction. Delitzsch himself 

146 The Hebrew New Testament [Sept. -Oct., 

had come to the conclusion that the text of the Sinaitic 
Codex, which was originally adopted as the basis for transla- 
tion, was not suitable for this purpose, and he decided, in 
accordance with the wish of the Bible Society, to make use 
of the Textus Receptus, and to add only the most important 
variants of the Sinaitic Codex in brackets. (S. u. H. XV 
222ff). In the late autumn of 1878, the second edition, 
translated on this new principle, apppeared. (S. u. H. XVI 
55ff). In February, 1880, the third edition was issued 
(S. u. H. XVII i86f) and in the autumn of 1881, the fourth 
(S. u. H. XVIII 2011), to which Dr. Baer in Biebrich and 
Prof. Driver in Oxford had made most important contribu- 
tions. The text of this fourth edition was electrotyped and 
is repeated in five other editions, with slight alterations. 

In an article written in English, "The Hebrew New 
Testament" Leipzig, 1883, Delitzsch presented a number of 
important corrections, which, however, received but partial 
recognition in the stereotyped edition; though they were 
fully recognized in the new octavo edition of 1885, which, 
therefore, until the eleventh edition, which has just appeared, 
represented the most advanced form of the text. 

Afterwards, and especially in consequence of proposed cor- 
rections by the Jewish scholars J. Kahan and J. Lichten- 
stein in Leipzig, and A. B. Ehrlich in New York, Delitzsch 
was convinced of the necessity of an extensive revision of his 
work. This he undertook in spite of increasing weakness 
and so comprehensive was his plan that he could entitle the 
present text a new translation. The thorough revision of 
the entire New Testament was provisionally completed when 
paralysis compelled the old man of seventy- six to lay down 
the pen and entrust the completion of the work to younger 

In the early part of February, 1890, he committed the 
work to the writer of this article, who had been closely con- 
nected with him for twenty years by a common interest in 
the evangelization of the Jews, hoping, however, to oversee 
the work until its completion. But God took the weary 
warrior home before more than the first half sheet could be 
placed in his dying hands. The review of this half sheet 
was the last work which was granted to my old friend, a 

1892] of Franz Delitzsch. 147 

work in which he had been employed almost uninterruptedly 
for twenty-five years.* 

The increased work given to me as editor, in which, by the 
request of Delitzsch, the Jewish scholar J. Kahan assisted 
me, consisted, (1) in the completion of the revision of the 
translation upon the basis of materials collected by Delitzsch, 
with the closest adaptation to the guiding principles. (2) In 
the furtherance of arrangements for the new printing ; and 
(3) in the oversight of the press work. In the beginning of 
August, 1 89 1, the work was completed; in February, 1892, 
the new eleventh edition was bound and on the market. 

The text which underlies the new edition differs from that 
of earlier editions in that the Textus Receptus is discarded, 
and the more important and better readings of the older 
Codices find a place in it, while the less worthy readings of 
the Receptus, if they represented additions to the original 
text, remained in brackets, but if they were real variants 
they were placed at the foot of the page. 

An effort was thus made to obviate the annoyances of the 
reader, on finding alternative readings standing in the text. 
Prof. Delitzsch declared that a thorough revision of the text 
in this particular was necessary, and he committed it to me, 
but this was delayed by the veto of the Bible Society. 
Unfortunately, on this account, the present text lacks in 
complete unity. In reality it is only the critical apparatus 
which has already appeared in the different editions which I 
revised, and gave a new form, according to the principles 
just stated. 

At this point I wish to remark that I have replaced the 
superscription of the Apocalypse, from which Delitzsch had 
stricken the name of John, in the last edition supervised by 
him. Since he wished, by this alteration, only to remove 
the apparent contradiction between the superscription and 
the opening of the book (Apocalypsis Iesou Xriston), I do not 
doubt that he would have agreed with me on renewed con- 
sideration. An Appendix to contain practical notes, which 

* An article which appeared after the death of Dr. Delitzsch entitled " Eine 
ubersetzungs arbeit Von 52 Jahren " containing some utterances of Delitzsch 
that had been printed before, gives an excessive reckoning, viz., from 1838, 
although nothing was done from 1838 to 1864. 

148 The Hebrew New Testament [Sept. -Oct., 

should correct misapprehensions of Jewish readers, had been 
long planned by Delitzsch, but in his last remarks concern- 
ing the new edition (S. u. H. XXVII 74), which only- 
appeared after his death, they were given up. 

For the orthography of the Hebrew, the edition of Old 
Testament texts by Baer was adopted as a model. Ortho- 
graphic peculiarities, like defective writing of vowels, are 
merely accidental. But the eye of the Old Testament reader 
ought not to be disturbed by a new writing. 

By far the most difficult portion of my editorial work lay, 
as a matter of course, in the realm of the language. Delitzsch 
had laid it down as his principle that the text should be 
reproduced as if thought and written in Hebrew. But even 
if one should admit, which the writer can not do, that some 
of the New Testament writers really thought in Hebrew and 
not in Aramaic, it would still remain an impossibility to de- 
termine how the written Hebrew of the time of Jesus and the 
Apostles was constructed. What has been presented by 
Margoliouth, in The Expositor for 1880, regarding the 
language of the book of Sirach; by Kyle and James in 
Psalmoi Salmonion, 1 89 1 , regarding the original of the Songs 
of Solomon, and by Resch in ' ' Agrapha Ausser Canonische 
Evangelien Fragment! " 1889, regarding an original Hebrew 
Gospel, is by no means entirely admissible, and even if it 
were, could not satisfactorily give a picture of the written 
Hebrew of that time. Therefore, there remain as the 
nearest accessible witnesses, the Book of David and the 
Mishna, which are sundered by three or four hundred years. 
But Delitzsch has endeavored to construct out of the Hebrew, 
of all periods of its history, down to the close of the Mishna, 
a dialect which would be fitted to become the instrument for 
the New Testament world of thought. 

But toward the last, he appeared to have felt that a greater 
unity of linguistic character was desirable for the transla- 
tion, and that the new Hebrew of Mishna and of the older 
Midrash was the idiom which stood nearest the New Testa- 
ment style. He moved, therefore, in this direction chiefly, 
in his revision of the translation, without, however, entirely 
obliterating the older Hebraic basis. This two-fold linguistic 

1892] of Franz Delitzsch. 149 

form of the translation ; in consequence of which, the oldest 
and newest elements often stand close together, embarassed 
the editor not a little, as one can readily understand. But it 
must be admitted that the linguistic compromise adopted by 
Delitzsch, after much thought, was the only way out of a 
difficult dilemma. It is only too evident, from the Hebrew 
New Testament of Salkinson published as an example of 
classic Hebrew, that the New Testament revelation cannot 
be accurately reproduced in Old Testament Hebrew. On the 
other hand, a holy book completing the Old Testament reve- 
lation could not properly adopt the Rabbinic idiom of the 
Talmud and the Midrash. From such considerations as 
these arose that combination of idioms which may prove dis- 
turbing to scholars. There is yet another consideration, 
which led to the compromise. 

The Hebrew New Testament was not intended to proclaim 
Christianity to the Jews of Talmudic times, but to those of 
the present day. The modern written Hebrew is, however, 
inter-penetrated with German colloquialisms, and even when 
there is an effort after the classic idiom, the result is often 
such an arbitrary hodge-podge of Old Testament phrases, 
used in utterly absurd senses, that the language seemed bet- 
ter fitted for a playground of wit and humors, than for a 
dignified medium of thought for scholars and sober, simple 
readers. No concessions whatever could be made to such 
poor linguistic taste, especially when it is remembered that 
ever since the time of Luzzato many profound thinkers among 
the Jews themselves had raised a bitter lament concerning 
this abuse of their language. Yet the Hebrew New Testa- 
ment must contain nothing which the Jewish readers of the 
present time could fail to rightly understand. Hence it was 
necessary to employ a great number of expressions for 
which a Jew of the time of the Apostles would have used 
Greek terms. We discover from the Targums, less Midrash 
and Talmud that the Hebrew had no words of its own for 
certain post-biblical ideas, and that foreign words were 
adopted even when Hebrew equivalents existed. Since to 
the Jews of the present day, the exact meaning of the foreign 
words, is for the most part unknown, it was necessary to 
choose Hebrew expressions in some measure equivalent. 

ISO The Hebrew New Testament, Etc. [Sept. -Oct., 

For the printing of the new edition, which consists of 469 
pages in small 8.°, new type was prepared after a Jewish 
pattern, by the famous printing house of W. Drugulin, of 
Leipzig, and these were made in Russia for this special pur- 
pose. The vowels were for the first time cast as a part of 
the letters, and thereby the injury to many of the types, 
during printing, otherwise unavoidable, was prevented. 
Unfortunately the type for the Superscription was not of this 
pattern, which explains the fact that the presses caused 
serious injury in some places. I have called attention to this 
in the Preface to the reader. 

A translation of the Scriptures for practical purpose, if it is 
not a mere paraphrase, remains always somewhat imperfect. 
It was not an accident, but a divine Providence, that the 
completed revelation in Christ entered the world, not in 
Aramaic nor Hebrew dress, but in Greek, and it is also not 
an accident, but a consequence of the judgment denounced 
by Israel upon herself, that the word of the fulfilled new 
covenant returns to her, not as a Hebrew original, but as a 
translation out of the Greek. But would that this new offer 
of Salvation, in the Hebrew tongue by which Christ "who 
was born from the seed of David according to the flesh," for 
the second time appears among his people, might prove to be 
to them not a savor of death, but of life and salvation. 

I append a tabular statement of all the past editions of 
Delitzsch's Hebrew New Testament, according to the eighty- 
seventh report of the British and Foreign Bible Society 
(1891) p. 440. 








32mo Leipzig 





" " 





i6mo " 





32mo Berlin 





K (I 





" *' 





It (( 





8vo " 





32mo " 





11 (1 





i6mo Leipzig 



Total 49,230 copies. 
* This edition was originally not numbered at all, but was subsequently in- 
serted after the edition of 1886, as the eighth edition.